After last Friday, UW-Eau Claire’s I-94 rivals have one less thing to brag about.
Veolia Environmental Services sponsored a local competition between Eau Claire and UW-Stout to see which university could place higher in the national recycling competition RecycleMania. After beating Stout, Eau Claire won the $1,500 prize.
Mark Vinall, area manager of Veolia, said the competition was a way to show his and the company’s support for environmentally friendly practices.
“When I heard about RecycleMania and that Eau Claire and Stout were participating,” Vinall said, “I thought, ‘Well, we should start a friendly rivalry competition between the two, and Veolia can throw in $1,500.’”
Vinall added that he thinks RecycleMania is a good program, and he wants to help advocate the same message.
“We’re really trying to promote the idea of improved education, stewardship for the environment, awareness from the student body that recycling is the right thing to do,” he said. “Veolia supports it as a company, and I personally support it.”
Amy Zagar, a sustainability intern for the university and one of the heads of the RecycleMania campaign, said she hopes to see some advances come from the award money and the competition.
“I think it increases incentive to recycle and be aware of it,” she said. “And, with Veolia, we’ve really been promoting composting correctly, too.”
The award money will be given to the Student National Environmental Health Association and the Conservationists. Each organization will receive $750.
Senior Caitlin Rosch, president of SNEHA, said they will use the money to promote future events and guest speakers.
“We want to promote sustainability as more than recycling plastic and paper,” Rosch said. “We want to promote composting, electronic waste recycling. We really want to diversify what can be reused so we can be more environmentally responsible.”
Vinall said he plans to continue the local competition in the future.
During last year’s competition, Eau Claire collected more than 133,000 pounds of recyclables, according to RecycleMania’s website. That averaged to just less than 12 pounds per person.
It is a collaboration among SNEHA, the Conservationists, Housing and Residence Life and the Student Office of Sustainability. This marks the fifth year Eau Claire has competed in RecycleMania.
A new category for the national event is electronic waste. It’s in pilot program stages this year. Eau Claire’s e-waste receptacles are located in the McIntyre Library lobby and in Hilltop Center next to the ATM.
Veolia has also changed the guidelines for recycling plastics. Plastics numbered one through seven can all be recycled now, as can all plastic bottle caps.
Eau Claire is competing in six different categories of the national competition. They are:
Grand Champion, which is based on the recycling rate as a percentage of the overall waste generation.
Stephen K. Gaski Per Capita Classic, which is based on the largest combined amount of paper, cardboard, bottles and cans on a per person basis.
Waste Minimization, which is based on the least amount of both recyclables and trash on a per person basis.
Gorilla Prize, which is based on the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, bottles and cans regardless of campus population.
Electronics, which is based on gross quantity without a per capita divider; this is a new pilot category for RecycleMania 2012.
Targeted materials, which is based on the largest amount of each individual material on a per person basis; the four categories of materials are paper, cardboard, bottles and cans and food service organics.
The competition officially began Feb. 5 and runs until March 31.